Pearl Perch, Glaucosoma scapulare Click to enlarge image
At Pearl Perch at a depth of 40 m, Wolf Rock, off Rainbow Beach, Queensland, August 2004. The fish in the background are Tarwhine. Image: Dave Harasti
© Dave Harasti

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    It grows to 70 cm in length.


The Pearl Perch has a blue-black to grey bony shield projecting from under the upper operculum. The species is an excellent table fish that occurs in eastern Australian coastal waters to depths of 90 m.

Pearl Perch, Glaucosoma scapulare

A 40 cm long Pearl Perch caught on hook and line at a depth of 20 m, North Solitary Island, New South Wales, 1 January 2011.

Image: Justin McKenzie
© Justin McKenzie


The Pearl Perch can be recognised by its supracleithrum, the bone that projects as a blue-black to grey bony shield from under the upper operculum. If the thin layer of skin covering the supracleithrum is removed, the pearly-white bone is revealed. The colouration of the supracleithrum is the origin of the common name of this fish.

The Pearl Perch has a robust body, a large mouth and a second dorsal fin which is higher than the first. The body is silvery to grey, and each scale has a small golden brown spot. There is a dark spot at the base of the last dorsal fin rays. A brown line passes diagonally through the eye of juveniles.


The species lives in coastal waters to depths of 90 m.


It is endemic to Australia, occurring from the central coast of Queensland to the central New South Wales coast.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Economic impacts

The Pearl Perch is a commercial species, which is mostly caught on lines. It is an excellent table fish.


  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. McKay, R.J. 1997. FAO Species Catalogue. Volume 17. Pearl Perches of the World (family Glaucosomatidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the pearl perches known to date. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Rome. Pp. 26.
  4. Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & R.D. Ward. 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook, an identification guide to domestic species. CSIRO Marine Research. Pp. 461.